peer advice, support, inspiration
By Ty Tashiro
I haven’t read a relationship self-help book in a while. I’ve read so many of them in the past, that, to be honest, the advice was starting to sound a bit stale and repetitive. But something about Ty Tashiro’s new book caught my eye. Of course, I always like the relationship “science” books, that bring in brain chemistry and psychology to describe what makes relationships tick. But upon flipping through the book, a chapter heading really caught my eye: “Why you only get three wishes (and no more)”. Why would we get only three wishes? Why couldn’t I have four or five wishes for a partner? Was that really asking too much? I mean, don’t we want to at least consider attractiveness, education, personality, shared hobbies/interests, and maybe geographic location. Maybe money, too… Six wishes is too many?
Yup. Tashiro does something novel (at least to me) in that he brings in statistics to illustrate the genuine impossibility of finding “prince charming.” Let’s say that as a woman you start with a room of 100 males (which, if you were planning on marrying within our church is a generous number). If you wanted someone with at least average looks, height, and wealth (only three wishes, and only average at that) you’d statistically only be left with about 13 guys. If you were to throw in a fourth criteria, say above average faith in God or above average funny, you’ve narrowed you’re statistical chances to near zero.
Think about that for a moment. Most of us spent a lot of time making elaborate lists of what we want in a partner: speaks English, wants to live in the US, has a good family, is attractive, is tall, is funny, hasn’t been in previous relationships, makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside…. And then we gripe that there are “no good candidates”. Even if you expanded your search to outside the church, your chances are actually not any better. Statistically, you can really only have three wishes (for above average characteristics). If you’re OK with below average characteristics, you can get more wishes.
It all sounds kind of depressing, right? Actually, it’s kind of liberating. It makes you think about what really matters, and focus in on your priorities. Tashiro talks about many of our common wishes, like attractiveness, wealth, and personality and tells you which ones actually make a difference in long-term relationship satisfaction. He brings in many many studies on relationships and psychology to help you narrow down your wishes and figure out which things really matter. (on a side note: If you’re sorta interested in this concept of statistics of finding partners with a set of traits, but aren’t sure you want to read a whole book, definitely check out this hilarious TEDtalk by Amy Webb called How I Hacked Online Dating.)